>C’mon Little Roof, You Can Do It!

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The past few days our local newspaper has had numerous articles regarding the roof collapses in and around New England. It started with older structures, then flat roofs like those on commercial buildings started giving way, and now shallow pitched residences are going too.
Honestly, it’s quite scary. Our schools have been closed all week because they are trying to clear the roofs, other school districts are dismissing early today because of cracking or bowing ceilings. The National Guard was in a neighboring town yesterday, and they are in the next town over today. I have MAJOR ice dams going all the way around my roof, so using a roof rake to get the snow off could potentially put more stress on other parts causing an even bigger issue. This is one of the worst winters in this area, it is certainly worse than I can ever remember. Sure I spent quite a bit of time away from New England, but the last time I heard of a major roof collapse due to snow was the Civic Center (the year I was born).
I think I’m going to visit my mom today, we’ll have a sleepover up there. My stepdad built the house and he doesn’t cut corners so I know his roof is safe, lol.
And last, but not least, head on over to No Model Lady’s blog and link up at the MilSpouse Weekly Roundup. It’s a great way to catch up on all your favorite blogs each week and maybe even meet some new bloggers.
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>The Right Kind of Distraction

>As I’ve mentioned before; I’ve had a hard time readjusting to life after R&R but things are going better. In fact, I am pretty sure I’m back to “ok” status now. They say the trick is to stay distracted. That is good advice; advice that I have given out on many occasions. “Keep busy”, “distract yourself with fun activities”. While this is still good advice, there is an element missing from those phrases. I think I have found that the BEST distraction is the one you are unaware of. The situation/event that takes up quite a bit of your thoughts leaving little time to sit there and think about missing him.

As you probably already know, I am in New England. We have been hit with a conveyor belt of snow storms over the past few weeks. It started with a storm in December that they called a Blizzard. It’s funny to think about that now, because that was the smallest of all the storms. I think we got about 10 inches, if that.

We then had a storm come shortly after R&R that dumped just under 3 FEET of snow. Since then it has been one after another. The schools in the area have cancelled or delayed more often then I can count. In fact, this is week 4 of my semester and I have only been to class once; and this week looks like it will be cancelled again. We have about 4 feet of snow on the ground, with snowbanks taller than my truck.

I love weather, I love snow, but at this point…. it’s getting dangerous.

I have learned how to read the NOAA maps and all that; GFS, NAM, SREF…. I know what qpf, zr and the 850’s mean… I know just enough to scare me.

About a week ago the news started talking about the importance of getting the snow off the roof. The next day I went out to check my roof, and I saw over a foot of ice beneath a couple feet of snow. As the week went on I heard more and more stories about collapsing roofs. Two in my town this week alone!

We are forecasted to get another storm starting tomorrow into Thursday. I have been watching this evolve and I have gotten more and more scared. To the point that I tried to stop looking at the models. I was like an addict though, waking up at 0300 to get the latest runs.

Anyway, the local mets have finally started talking about the potential for a lot of ice which is a problem because everyone has hit the stores with the intention of buying EVERYTHING. You cannot find a shovel, ice pick, snow blower, sheer pins for snow blowers (mine is broken and I need a sheer pin to fix it), even gloves and hats are a rarity. I was lucky, I did find salt, but that was the last of it. Most people are sold out.

So, here I sit,, with a roof full of ice and snow, a broken snow blower sits in the garage and a single shovel sits next to it because all the other shovels are buried under four feet of snow.

I am worried about my roof, I’m worried about the ice taking out power, I’m worried about shoveling the driveway, I’m worried about falling on the ice…. I’m concerned that this is going to be a really bad storm.

I’ve been concerned for a few days now, but you know what I realized this morning as I drove home from the 4th store that had no shovels??? I haven’t been sad. I’ve been stressed, but not sad. The weather has been my distraction, and I didn’t even realize it.

Wish New England luck getting through this storm unscathed. We’re in for a monster storm.

>Snowed in

> Today we got some snow.

Yes, those are two full sized grills underneath that snow. This picture was taken around 1100, it continued to snow until about 2030. You see that knob right there in the center of the picture? Yeah, you can’t see it anymore.

I went out with the intention of snowblowing this morning (to get a head start on it) but by the time I got out there it was already taller than the snowblower. I tried shoveling the top half so I could blow the rest but my back and arms were screaming after about an hour and I didn’t even make it back from the first pass.


I gave up. I was not getting anywhere. My truck is BURIED. I am not getting out of this driveway today. My neighbor brought his Super Duty pickup over to plow….. but he couldn’t even get to the driveway. I came inside put some scrub pants on (one of the perks of being a nursing student, your work attire doubles as jammies) and made dinner for the kids.
That’s when I realized
I HAVE MY FIRST CLINICAL TOMORROW!
I panicked! The semester started this week and my clinicals this semester are in a public school.
Just as I was about to get my boots back on and head out into the night to shovel my truck out, BRO #2’s girlfriend called. Told me to turn on Channel 3. And that’s when I saw it.
Just Another MilSpouse’s Kids Public School – CLOSED
Just Another MilSpouse’s Clinical School – CLOSED
Cue the beautiful harp music with birds flying in the background.
So what did I do next? Well, I grabbed myself a big ole bowl of Jubilee Ice Cream roll, sat my absurdly wide rear end on the couch and attempted to read Chapter 34 of my Pediatrics Text.
Well, I got through the first two pages but the game show the kids were watching on TV proved to be MUCH more entertaining.
I am going to head back out first thing in the morning with a shovel and just do as much as I can. I have plenty of Ibuprofen stocked so I can whimper tomorrow night, but I HAVE to get rid of this snow.

>My Day Spent With Murphy

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Have you ever had a day that went so completely wrong that it was almost comical? Well, AFTER the day is over it becomes comical, it isn’t at ALL funny when you’re going through it.
Last night as I was trying to fall asleep (my inability to sleep lately is really starting to tick me off) I was thinking about my next blog post. I realized that the last few posts have been a bit on the negative side. I’ve been complaining about things and just venting. I had decided that today’s post would be focusing on the positive aspects of this point in my life. Almost like a belated Thanksgiving post.
Yeah, that was the plan.
That was NOT what Murphy had planned for me today. No Siree, he decided that he was going to flex his muscles and show me who’s in charge.

MURPHY’S LAW:
It is an experience common to all men to find that, on any special occasion, such as the production of a magical effect for the first time in public, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Whether we must attribute this to the malignity of matter or to the total depravity of inanimate things, whether the exciting cause is hurry, worry, or what not, the fact remains.

Ready for a run down of my day? We’ll start last night, yeah, that will give you the total picture.
Last night Z reminded all of us that December was his favorite month and that he fully intended to celebrate the arrival of December in a way that we will all be forced to join in. He then went to bed leaving us all to wonder what his mysterious warning could have implied. I went to bed at a semi-normal time last night and of course tossed and turned as I do many nights lately. I finally fell asleep around 0300.

I slept like a log. 
Until 0500 when Christams Carols began BLASTING through my house.
Z’s idea of “celebrating December” was to turn up the speakers as loud as they could possibly go as early as he could possibly get up.
So, my day began with a headache but that’s ok. I suppose it was a sweet thing that I will remember to tell his wife about when he’s older. I promise you Z, I will  embarass you!
Anyway, B begged me to drive him to school this morning. I agreed to do it despite having class this morning because I know how much he hates the hour long bus ride. As we are walking out the door he asks if he can have a Capri Sun for the ride to school. I said yes, he happily sat there drinking his juice on the way to school until we were about a block away. Somehow, the damn pouch spontaneously exploded; spraying juice EVERYWHERE. How does that even happen?  I have no idea, all I know is that he and I BOTH needed new shirts. I started to yell, but as I turned to look at him his look of shock put me in my place and I instead yelled at the Capri Sun for “throwing up on me”.
He laughed.
I drove home.
We changed.
He was late to school.
I was behind schedule.
Oh and my van was almost out of gas.
Now I would only have time to make ONE stop on my way to class. I needed gas, but I also needed coffee (thanks Z) but the gas station with a Dunkin Donuts has expensive gas and I didn’t have time to get coffee AND drive to the cheap gas station. So, I paid an arm and a leg for gas this morning, but I got my coffee.
So, I am on my way to school and the weather starts to get bad. It’s raining and now the wind is starting to gust. It’s pushing me all over the road forcing me to drive slower than I would like. I make it to school with about 2 minutes to get all my stuff and get to the 3rd floor. Parking lot is packed. I park WAYYYYYY in the back in the middle of a friggin’ puddle the size of Lake Erie. With my backpack on my back, purse on my arm, coffee in one hand and an umbrella in the other I half run/half walk across the parking lot SPLASHING through the puddles; completely submerging my new shoes in water. That’s when a gust of wind comes, blows my umbrella inside out and knocks me over. I literally FELL into the car next to me. Thank goodness it was not a new car; I would have felt REALLY bad if I had scratched someone’s car. I didn’t hit the ground (thank you Volvo) but my coffee didn’t survive. At that point I was very happy to have chosen black jeans this morning; but I was also not looking forward to sitting through a 4 hour lecture in wet pants.
I arrive to class and find the door locked. I find my classmates sitting in the 3rd floor lobby. After waiting for a half hour, we learn that the teacher cancelled class but had forgotten to inform the students. Nice, huh? The week before an exam. So, I head back across Lake Erie this time without an umbrella because I got mad and threw it in the dumpster (what the hell am I going to do with an inside out umbrella anyway?), throw my backpack in the van and start heading home. I’m a little peeved by this though because just yesterday my Doctor’s office called me with a referral to a vascular surgeon. They were booked through mid December except for a cancellation today. I had to refuse today’s appointment because of class, but if I had known class was cancelled I could have taken that appointment and gotten this whole surgery thing taken care of.
OK, so, it’s 1100 and I decide that I should go to Best Buy to pick up the xBox Santa is bringing. I call my bro’s girlfriend to make sure that I can drop it off at their place. I think I mentioned before that everything I have bought so far has been found so from here on out, all gifts are being stored at my Bro’s condo. So the girlfriend says she will be home about 1530. No problem, I had a conference with Z’s teacher at 1430 I told her I would drop it off after that.
I buy the xbox.
Come home.
Realize that I have nothing for dinner tonight.
Yell at my husband for something really stupid when he calls.
Apologize for yelling.
Yell again because I am not convinced he listened to my apology.
Apologize again.
Leave for conference.
The conference goes well, Z is doing fairly well in school. Motivation is an issue but his report card is good. I get out of there and head over to the Bro’s condo. I got there at 1520, so I sit in the parking lot and wait for the girlfriend to show up. (My bro works 3rd shift so he’s home; but sleeping and I don’t want to wake him up). I sit there watching the rain and wind out of my windshield. Now it’s 1530.
1545
1605 – I call her, no answer
1625
Finally at 1640 I start worrying about the kids. They are at home, C is babysitting but I know they are getting hungry and I need to get their homework started. Oh crap! No dinner. McDonalds it is. I call the kids but they don’t answer the phone (unfortunately, this is not an uncommon thing; none of them like to answer the phone and they always assume one of the others will answer it). So, I leave. I’m a bit ticked off that I just sat in the parking lot for almost an hour and a half. 80 minutes that could have been spent doing something usefull like cleaning the house, studying, kid homework, grocery shopping. I kept thinking that as soon as I left she would arrive. I should have left after the first 10 minutes.
I’m pulling into the drive thru when the girlfriend calls; rather than apologizing to me she tells me that she “was at the gym and totally lost track of time, you know when you just get in the zone and lose track of everything”? Ha, yeah, sure I do, like when there aren’t enough hours in the day and I have to decide between washing my hair that day and folding the three loads of laundry sitting on the couch. Yeah, sure, I know what it’s like to lose track of time because I don’t have any to spare. So, wasting 80 minutes in YOUR PARKING LOT WAS NOT COOL!!!!! This is what I wanted to say, instead I told her it was ok, no harm done. Boy, did I eat my words on that one, but I digress.
With 3 Large Value Meals on the passenger seat I am now on my way home, passing through an intersection with a green light when a car comes SCREECHING to a halt with his bumper about 2 feet from my driver’s door. I swerved, hit a curb, knocked my van out of alignment BAD and knocked over one of the sodas. Heart still pounding I turn onto the road that leads up the mountain to my house. About a block from my street I see traffic being turned around. OK, bout face, turn up the next street. Nope, blocked. I go all the way down the mountain, cross to the other side in the next town over.
Not going that way either. What the heck is going on here? The only other way home is going up and around to the other side of mountain via the highway. At this point I’m getting a little upset. I call the boys again. No answer. I call each of their cell phones, and get no answer. Now I’m not feeling good. I am ready to cry. I can’t get home, and I can’t get in touch with the  kids. I start letting it ring constantly and calling back when I get the voicemail. FINALLY, they answer. The home phone isn’t working because the power is out, and the cell phones don’t have reception unless they stand in the doorway. They had been trying to answer the phone but without the wireless router working the phones have no service. I told them I was going to be home as soon as I could, I had to go around the mountain. Of course, I get to the other side and who do I meet???

My good friend, the traffic blocker.
This guy tells me that some trees went down and there are power lines all over the roads. There is one more route I can take and it’s a dirt road, but at this point, if they have it blocked off I have decided that I am just going to leave the van on the road and walk home. Thankfully, it is not blocked. I drive home in the pitch blackness. I pull into the driveway and carry in the cold burgers and fries. The boys greet me with smiles and hugs. They had taken all the flashlights in the house and had put them on various surfaces in the house. There was one in the bathroom, three in the kitchen, a big one sat in the center of the living room on the floor and mini lights were scattered everywhere. They each were armed with no less than four lights a piece. There were flashlights hanging from their necks, looped through belt loops, stuffed in their socks, etc. Every single one of them was on. It was brighter in the house than it normally is when the power is on! I gave them all HUGE hugs and told them the story of my drive home as we turned off most of the lights to conserve batteries. We then played Pictionary by candlelight.
As soon as I was home I felt better. As difficult as the day had been it culminated in such a stressful event that the simple act of coming home and getting a hug from my boys made me happier than anything in the world. It’s funny how that works. For every up there is a down, one of the philosophers that I studied years ago talked about how our postive and negative emotions are experienced in equal extremes. In simple terms he explained that if a person feels a sadness of -5 he can therefore feel happiness of +5. Theoretically, the more unhappy a person is the happier they can potentially be. It sounds strange at first but he believed that the trying times in our lives are necessary to truly value the happy times.
I got nothing accomplished today, I drove around the state most of the day for cancelled classes, absent minded family members, and downed power lines. Mr. Murphy was with me the entire time however that last part of the day; when I was just trying to get home to my kids was by far the worst part but it’s also what made the remainder of the evening so good. If I had been able to come straight home after getting their burgers I never would have played that game of Pictionary with them because the power would have been on and I would have been working on my Clinical Packet for school. If that tree hadn’t gone down, I would have walked in the door 2 hours earlier and said “hi, how was school” to each one. But that tree DID go down, so while I was driving around upset and on the verge of tears, the boys were having a good time playing with flashlights. When I got home instead of just saying “hi” I got a big strong hug from each one. My care plan is not finished and I have just spent entirely too long writing this post, but I don’t want to forget this. I needed to get it down, because if I don’t I won’t remember how good it felt to play Pictionary with them on a school night when I had so many other things to do.
Murphy, I know I complain about you and I was not happy that you insisted on hanging out with me all day today, but looking back, I suppose I am glad you did. Your presence today made me appreciate the simple things tonight. Now, please go away!

>Hurricane Earl Obsession

>I have been absolutely obsessed with weather lately. I’ve always loved watching the weather channel especially during hurricane season or winter, but this year I got especially involved. It all started when my kids and I began talking about how hurricanes form. I explained that typically the major ones that impact us form from a Cape Verde Wave. Of course this led to the question “how does a wave turn into a tropical depression”. I needed help answering this question so I turned to my trusty Google search bar. Well, after explaining everything to the kids and satisfying their curiosity I realized now I had more questions. So I started looking more. This morphed from looking at articles about hurricanes in general to the current weather season. This then turned into analyzing the maps, radars and satellite images from The National Hurricane Center. So, of course, I decided to pick a depression currently in the Atlantic basin to follow. Big mistake. I happened to choose Earl, who at the time was not expected to become much of anything. I gradually began checking the stats of the storm more and more frequently. By the time it became a Cat 3 I had downloaded all the imagery and had even gone so far as to make a little amateur projected path so I could compare it to real meteorology forecasts.

I was obsessed.
I set an alarm every 3 hours each night so I could download the latest stats and plot them on my own map in the morning. I was a lunatic. The fact that it turned into such a big storm threatening New England made it worse. THEN when I realized our second home was in it’s direct path I went bonkers. Started making plans to leave the kids with my mother in law while I went down to assess damage, etc. Thankfully, it did little to no damage to either of our houses, but holy COW what a ride. If I had just gone by what the forecasts were saying maybe I wouldn’t have been so scared, but noooooo, I had to analyze every image, every radar, everything; that put me in Worst Case Scenario Mode. Not good.
Each time my husband called during this adventure he’d ask “so how’s your boyfriend, Earl”? Apparently I talked about him a lot. My husband is a very laid back jokester who was not in the least bit worried about this storm. I need to learn to listen to him more, but that is for another conversation.
So, even though hurricane season is not over and the waves forming in the Atlantic are occurring quite frequently, I am refusing to track anything myself. Thankfully this obsession began and ended during semester break. Can you imagine if I had been mid-semester? Oh boy, wouldn’t have been good